Capital City downtown bear population is becoming a trashy problem


The black bears are all over downtown Juneau these days, and they are fat and happy.

Rep. Sarah Vance discovered a couple of fat ones rummaging through the pizza boxes and other food containers in the parking lot behind the Capitol and snapped the photo shown above. Bears have also been spotted tussling on North Franklin, meandering near Evergreen Cemetery, and roaming the parking lot of the Driftwood Hotel, where many legislators stay.

Janitors in the Capitol have advised people to separate their garbage, so that the cleaning crew can secure food garbage in bear-proof containers.


  1. I knew bears would eat chicken-heart and servant-heart, but I didn’t realize they had a taste for common sense… and all the legislative garbage thrown out by congress this year. No wonder they’re fat – but they likely have indigestion and are a bit grumpy like the rest of the public.

  2. Juneau is a Liberal city. Even the bears are emulating those in Seattle, Portland, and SF. Our bears used to be conservative. Now look at them, how the mighty have fallen.

  3. Yeah if you leave it out they will come. I used to like watching the little grizzly bears in the trash dumpster behind the school in East Glacier Park Montana. It was especially comical watching them snap up that pancake syrup licking out those little containers on French toast stix day.

  4. Having lived in Juneau for a number of decades I recall the day in which Bears became a problem. It was Spring 1982, a rather large Black Bear was grazing in a large avalanche meadow across from the Trestle on basin Road. A hunter spotted the Boar and contacted Fish and Game to make certain that the Bear was in a legally open for hunting area. He was informed that it was. The Hunter proceeded to stalk and shoot the Bruin while a group of Downtown Hippie / Greenie/ (Hip-Yups) residents watched on in Horror! The hunter was the subject of much derision in the Letters to the Editor section of the Juneau Empire following the episode. After that, hunting boundaries were moved back further which had the effect of removing any area where one could hunt Black Bears within the CBJ road system. After a matter of a few years the cagey Bruins learned that the Juneau Humans were chumps and weaklings and were ripe for picking on. Prior to ’82 any Bear that got out of hand was dispatched into that great Blueberry Patch in the Heavens. And now? You have an enforcement group employed by the CBJ actively writing tickets to offenders who store their trash outside of their enclosed domicile and Bears that have a full understanding of both Trash pick up schedules and the CBJ code. Their is an ongoing a struggle in nature for dominance, apparently Downtown Juneau Hip-Yups have willingly abdicated their dominance to scheming ursas americanus.

  5. Where does this learned helplessness come from? They are BEARS, for God’s sake! Run them off, kill them if necessary. The solution is not difficult! Would any Alaskans of 50 or 60 years ago have engaged in all the pious hand-wringing over a problem like this? NO! They would have been shot, end of problem, end of story.
    For just WHOM, exactly, are cities established, humans or animals? These latter-day misguided bleeding hearts need to ask themselves that question.

  6. You can tell Juneau is a political cesspool. There are solutions for garbage containment. (Like there are solutions to many of our problems.) However, these solutions are not implemented by those who should be responsible, because they get more money and power in bickering about it rather than actually doing anything about it.

    We live in wild Alaska. We have known what the animals do for a long time. Humans need to get their $h!t together.

    This is not news, this is a low grade attempt at entertainment.

    • Masked Avenger, I disagree, I see similarities between the Bears and the majority of Legislators. Both Bears and Legislators have been enabled to ransack your property by unenlightened legal machinations and both are dangerous to the public. I submit that Bears and Legislators are busy doing something… that is making a mess that someone has to clean up. Given the above, I would hope that you would agree that we need to right side up things and remind these Varmints that we the People are dominant.
      State Supreme Court edicts on appropriations and Juneau City/ Borough hunting closures be damned!

  7. I used to live next to the neighborhood dump on the mendenhall river in 1982. Jsut to be clear, it was about 3 acres of anything and everything toxic.

    Today, isn’t garbage barged 1000s of miles away to some dump?

    This isn’t a sustainable situation. Look at the garbage in those bags. I personally don’t use any of this kind of garbage- single use- PFAS-coated paper, polyethylene, polystyrene. Shove all the waste in black bags and throw it in the alley? This is modern humanity at its worst. Pollute the air! Pollute the water!

    Tell us all about how the solution is easy- just shoot the wildlife. Don’t tell me about my tailpipe emissions. Don’t tell me about the plastic disintigrating off my tires. Whoops! Spilled some diesel in the water! Sneak off and hole up at home, light the wood burning stove and send tons of lung-cancer causing wood smoke into the air. Throw some dryer sheets in with the wash, and blow weird chemicals into your neighbor’s air.

    • Jpoo, Juneau has a landfill at present, it is called Mt. Stinko, seems abundant rain fall and garbage is a methane generator, who knew? In times past the former owner of the dump incinerated all of the trash, it was a very clean operation with no rats or stench. . However now… the stench will knock a dog off a gut wagon, and oh, the river next to the dump is Lemon Creek, not the Mendenhall River and no, trash is not hauled off on a barge. Scrap metal is thankfully, recycle!

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